For the first time since 2004, the levels of Sydney's dams have dropped below 50%.
In May 2004, the dam levels dipped below 50% during the 2000s drought, also known as the Millennium drought, an extended period of dry conditions in Australia. Now, the current level have dropped again to 49,7% according to updates on August 22, 2019.
Unfortunately, according to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology predictions for the following autumn, a dry period that started in July is going to continue for most of the regions in the continent including the New South Wales (NSW) state where Sydney belongs.
NSW officials have implemented Level 1 water restrictions since May 2019 when the dam levels were at 53.5%. Under those circumstances, hoses must have a water nozzle and gardens may be watered before 10:00 and after 16:00. Fixed sprinklers, micro-spray systems, and unattended hoses are banned. Moreover, additional restrictions are applied to watering hard surfaces such as pavements and buildings and filling swimming pools. Back then, Melinda Pavey, NSW water minister, stated that the dams were under the lowest inflows since the 1940s.
If the water levels drop below 40%, Level 2 water restrictions will be applied. Under those rules, outdoor watering can be conducted between 6:00-8:00 or between 18:00-20:00.
According to Sydney Water, an NSW corporation, people in Sydney have reduced their water consumption by 100.000 m3 daily in the past 10 years. Moreover, water usage has been further reduced by another 7% in July. “It’s worth noting that 75% of residential water use happens indoors, so we’re calling on people to save water inside the home too. Reducing showers by one minute saves on average nine liters of water. If everyone cut a minute off their shower, collectively Sydneysiders could save 45m liters of water every day,” a spokesman from Sydney Water stated.
To meet the city's demands, a desalination plant is currently providing 250.000 m3 of water, which is equivalent to 15% of Sydney's water requirement, to the network. According to a recent announcement, the plant is going to expand in the future in order to ensure the water network's prosperity.